The NFL Awards was one of the least competitive in recent memory. Most of the awards had a clear winner coming into the night. With that being said, let’s do an awards summary first.
2017 NFL Awards
- MVP: Tom Brady– Was there really any doubt? The NFL’s passing yardage leader on arguably the best team in the league. Oh, and just in case you hadn’t heard, he’s 40.
- Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley– Gurley was the league leader in yards from scrimmage with 2,093. He also turned in 19 total touchdowns for the upstart Rams.
- Comeback Player of the Year: Keenan Allen– A lot of candidates for this award got hurt again this season, but that shouldn’t take away from Allen’s incredible year. He finished third in the league in receiving yards and had three straight games with 10-plus catches and over 100 yards.
- Coach of the Year: Sean McVay– Should you expect anyone else than the man who took 2016’s worst offense (by points scored) and turned them into the league’s best?
- Offensive Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara– As much as you can argue for Kareem Hunt, Kamara averaged 7.7 yards per touch. That clip is the most in league history for anyone with at least 200 touches in a season.
- Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marshon Lattimore– The rookie leader in interceptions (5) also got voted into the Pro Bowl. He locked up some of the toughest receivers in the league this year including Julio Jones and Mike Evans.
Defensive Player of the Year
And finally, we come to Defensive Player of the Year. Aaron Donald could probably win this award every year, but this season he was more deserving of it than ever. This man is the best player in the league not named Tom Brady. Per Pro Football Focus, Donald got pressure on the quarterback 91 times this year, the most in the league among interior defensive linemen. Second in the league among defensive tackles was Geno Atkins, who had 70 pressures. To put that into perspective, Donald got pressure on 18.8 percent on pass rushing plays, compared to just 6.8 percent from the average interior defender. Donald is impossible to block and has an incredible arsenal of pass rushing moves for an interior lineman.
Now sure, Demarcus Lawrence and Calais Campbell both had great seasons, and there are strong arguments for both of them. Overall though, Donald was by far the better player. They both had more sacks than Donald, who had 11 compared to their 14.5 each. However, Donald forced five fumbles by himself, while Lawrence and Campbell forced seven combined. Not to mention that Donald also missed two games this season. Between Donald and Campbell, it was close, but in the end, Donald edged Campbell by six votes to claim the award.